Thought I'd beat the forecasted morning rain by heading out early to The Pines. As I was gearing up at the trailhead I realized that I had forgotten my gloves, a bit of a bad omen as to what lies ahead. I hate riding without gloves, my hands get beat all the hell and torn up every time I do it. Today would be no exception.
Trails were a bit tacky but no real mud anywhere, everything started out well enough. I was riding the Red loop with all the Black options, doing quite well I might add. The rain started, it was gentle enough so I carried on into Doug's Delirium. By time I was nearing the end of Cardiac Hill the rain was getting a bit harder but I didn't have much left to ride now anyways. I took the Black option into Bloody Lung. I was riding hard, nearing the top of one of the many root infested climbs in this section when my rear tire slipped ever so gently then came to a full hook up in the granny gear. A loud pop and crunching and I was off the bike. A quick spin of the back wheel showed that the freehub had blown up and was now locked. Great, a fixed gear MTB for the rest of the ride. I decided to call it and walked out to the nearest Red trail section. I was able to ride along the remaining Red Trail (This Trail Sucks, thats really the name) as long as I didn't stop pedalling.
Nearing the parking lot I rode over a rock garden at the exit that I always do and stopped pedalling to let the cranks clear the rocks. More popping and banging. Now my bike would not more forward at all. The freehub internals had disintegrated and I could spin freely in both directions. Good thing I was at the parking lot. I tossed the bike in the truck and left, knowing that I've got some hub servicing to do. Fucking Shimano freehub bodies.
Last year I gave up on hydros after years of banging my head against the wall with the likes of Hayes hydros, Avid Elixirs, and Shimano offerings all failing me repeatedly. I decided that I wanted to keep it simple and cheap but have good braking power and modulation with solid feeling engagement.
Enter the Avid BB7. Best mechanical disc brake on the market. It works great and is cheap. They work great out of the box but there are a few tweaks I've found that take it to the next level.
Here is The Bric's guide to hacking the BB7.
Cables matter! Get yourself a good set of compressionless cables. The quality of these make all the difference. I chose Goodridge cables and housings for this job, they work great, but get out your wallet, they are not cheap.
Lever madness. Levers make a big difference as well. If you are trying to keep it cheap as possible, use the Avid FR5 levers. They can be bought for $15 online and work great with the BB7. If you want a little more feel and adjustment out of your brakes, use the Avid SD7 Speed Dial levers. They have an unreal amount of adjustments at the lever and will give you nearly hydraulic feel at the levers.
Rotors. Use Avid rotors, I've found that the G2 work best with the BB7. The Heat Shedding rotors work second best.
Lets put it all together now.
The proper install. When you install the BB7 caliper be sure to have it centered perfectly. I turn the pad adjusters (red dials on each side) in evenly so the rotor sits dead center in the caliper. Tighten down the bolts and turn the dials out a few clicks each for now. Everything should look perfectly lined up.
Install your levers at your desired angle and adjust the lever reach to your preference. Install cables, be sure to use a file and flatten out the cable ends after cutting before you put on your housing cap (this DOES make a difference).
Use the barrel adjuster on your lever only to take up any slack in the cable. Do not adjust it enough that it pulls the BB7 lever arm as this will take away from the amount of modulation the BB7 has.
Adjust the engagement point of your brakes using the red dial adjusters on the caliper. Be sure that there is no rubbing when the wheel turns but you still have about an inch of space from the lever to the grip with a firm hold on the brakes. I find that having the inboard pad adjusted a little further away from the rotor than the outboard pad gives a bit more modulation at the beginning of the brake engagement.
There is a small set screw in the caliper body that tensions the caliper return spring. Take that bitch out and toss it. With good cables and housings, and a good setup, you don't need all that tension for the caliper to return. This will make your lever action very light and you will have more feel at the lever.
Now go ride, bed the brakes in by riding some extended downhills while dragging the brakes then periods of cooling. I've found that the brakes come alive after 3-4 rides, any subsequent pad replacement requires this bed in procedure again. Now go out and enjoy the most reliable brakes you could ever ask for.
Had a nice midweek ride at The Pines in Woodstock last week (been too busy to update the blog). Glad I bought a membership to the Woodstock Cycling Club this year, its a great trail to break up my usual TP riding and its less than an hour away. Lots of rooty challenging trails too if you venture into Doug's Delirium and Bloody Lung. And, as always, 354 gives huge shit eating grins while railing the beauty berms. Looks like the TP trail sign vandal has been out here too, marking his little pine trees on the signs. I still want to cut his hands off.
Watch for a trail review of The Pines soon.
Here we go again, The Bric is pissed.
I had a rather funny thing happen to me recently while riding along one of the local paved multi-use trails in town with my son. You need to know that he is well trained in the need to wear a helmet and will not get onto his bike without one. Anyways, he is clipping along on his push bike, having a blast, I'm riding slowly behind him, both of us with our trusty lids on. Along comes another rider from the opposite direction. I recognize him right away, he was my family doctor when I was a little kid. He is a well known local cyclist as well who use to ride from his home in Simcoe to his practice in the next town. He is not wearing a fucking helmet.
My son stops dead in his tracks, looks back at me, then at the doctor coming out way, points at him and says "Daddy, he no wearing no helmet on his head". The doctor hears this all go down and passes us with a nonchalant look on his face. I laugh a bit and reply "He sure don't". Then I start thinking about it. My two year old son knows more about protecting your brain than a fucking PhD holding emergency room doc. Aren't these the guys that should be promoting safety?
And just because you don't have a PhD does not mean that YOU get off either. Nothing steams me up more than watching mom/dad unit riding without a helmet with child unit. That kid is going to learn that it is ok to not wear your helmet. Put your fucking lid on!
The excuses, I hear them all the time. "It messes with my hair", "its hot", "waaa waaa waaa". I'll take a bad hair day over eating all my meals through a straw the rest of my life. At least your hair will look good while you breathe with the assistance of an artificial respirator plugged into your neck.
Here are a few facts taken from the helmets.org website to get your juices flowing.
NO FUCKING EXCUSES! Wear your helmet, teach your kids helmet safety, set an example. Don't want to wear a helmet? Sounds about as smart as trying to stop a moving train with your best Superman pose.
I suppose I shouldn't get so worked up over it though. If you don't have two brain cells to spark together to heat up enough intelligent though to actually put a helmet on, chances are there is nothing in your empty void of a skull cavity worth protecting. Another form of natural selection I guess.
I spotted the THE Draco on blowout at JensonUSA for $15. Holy shit, thats a deal, why not give it a try since my Giro is giving me some grief?
The Draco fits my head well, not too high or low, not too snug or loose. Just right. The ratcheting adjuster on the back of the lid works well and stays adjusted, no constant fiddling. The Draco is lightweight and feels like a high quality helmet with good fit and finish. The helmet features 23 vents to keep you cool, I never had the feeling of overheating in it. The back of the helmet gives a little more protection than most XC style helmets and is more of a 3/4 style in the back. More protection is a good thing. The padding in the helmet works very well and seems to wick away sweat better than other helmets I've used. Maybe its a combination of the vents and padding but I've never had the "sweat rolling down your eyelids" that I've gotten with other helmets.
My only gripe is that for a Large / X-large size, the straps seem a little short. I have just enough adjustment to keep things safe, although I do have a pretty large head.
I have not crash tested the helmet (thankfully) so I cannot comment on its performance there.
I'll give it 4.5/5 stars. Only reason I don't give it 5 is because of the straps. Its a great lid that fits well and you forget about it as soon as you put it on. Its my go-to lid now for mountain bike use.
Let face it. When cycling, snot happens. Some people produce more than others but either way it needs to be taken care of before you're sporting a gooey green mustache while shredding singletrack. I produce more of it than others it seems and have came up with a list of 3 ways of effectively expelling it from your face holes.
Reading about snot might be a bit disgusting, but at least you're not reading any regurgitated horse shit from Mountain Bike Action or that hipster self entitlement bullshit in Bicycle Times.
So breathe easy and keep from having a crusty green fu-manchu by using these fine cycling tips.
The trails at Wildwood Conservation Area have been open for mountain biking for a number of years now but I have not had the chance to get up there and check them out until now. I heard a few good things about these trails when they first opened up but its been radio silence ever since. I figured it was about damn time to see what they are like.
I drove the hour and a half from home to Wildwood Conservation Area, getting there around 7:30am. I paid my $6 entry fee at the gate and got directions / info / map from the pleasant gate attendant. The trailhead parking area is nice. Picnic tables, trail information board, and a bike service / repair station sponsored by Steam Whistle.
The trail starts out through a tunnel under the highway and winds along some bluffs for a while before dropping down into the valley at the Wildwood Dam.
The trail then heads along the reservoir shores and through the flood plains of the "lake".
There are emergency response stations located about every 1/2 km along the 25km trail, also useful for seeing where you are as they are marked on the map.
The trail is, for the most part, pretty straight and rolling. Short, gentle ups and downs are along the entire route. It is quite devoid of technical features save for a few short rooty areas and the "Hardwoods Trail" which is the most exciting part of the trail. The Hardwoods Trail is a small loop (less than a kilometer if I had to guess), and is the most challenging part of the trail, although its really not THAT challenging. The trail is also mostly what I consider double track, probably 85-90% of the trail, seems like more of an old access road / ATV trail than purpose built mountain bike trail.
The trail does have some nice scenery along the lake shore and a few nice boardwalks. There are also some cool old access roads that connect to the trail along the way that look like they would be fun to explore, but most of them are posted with "No Trespassing" signs.
All in all, its a decent trail if you live in the London / Stratford area but is seriously lacking in the excitement department. I like my trails narrow and twisty, while these are pretty wide open and straight. I did spot some areas along the route that have the potential to have great twisty singletrack on them though. Maybe the trails will develop more in the years to come. For now, I'll stick with riding other places that offer some more challenge and excitement.
Bric's Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.
June is here. Nice weather, good rides, family time, and my baby girl will be a year old in two weeks. Exciting times. First ride of June was at Turkey Point, as most of my rides are. Rode the park trails, out to the Anderson Tract, checked out the new dump trails, and back into the park for more riding. It was a good day, trails all to myself. Not another soul to be seen.
It was nice seeing the new sign posts with logos and names of the various club sponsors. I tip my hat to these guys, thanks for the donations.
I was pretty pissed to see that some asshat took it upon themselves to "improve" the club signage. I hope this jerk gets caught, and they had better hope its not by me, I don't play well with assholes. I mean, who the fuck thinks its a good idea to take a marker to these wonderful signs and fuck them all up. If I find you Mr. Vandal, I will take your damn marker to your face to "improve" it. I hope you slip and run your fingers through a fucking table saw.
Anyways, back to the riding. It was good, I had fun. The rain we had over the weekend sure tacked up the trails nicely, alot less dust too.
Anyways, its nice out and its time to go do something fun with the family. Now go outside and enjoy June!
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.